Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropoda > Conidae

Family: Conidae (Cone Shells)

Nearly all of the 500-600 species have a distinctively similar shape. Characteristic features are: a flat top, conical shell; and, a long slit-like aperture lip extending from a very short siphonal opening to nearly the top. Some species have moderate spires, although generally similar. The shell may be smooth or spirally ornamented, and the patterns and colors are extraordinarily varied.
All are carnivorous and feed on other mollusks, worms and small fish, which they stun by projecting a venomous harpoon connected to a muscular poison gland. The cone can extend its proboscis lightning fast for a lethal sting and engulf and digest a fish the size of its shell or larger (Ruppert & Barnes). It can also selectively alter the makeup of the injected toxin complex, in order to better target a specific fish or mollusc species (Jakubowski et al., 2005). The mode of feeding is shared by other molluscs in the superfamily Conacea, which includes also the Turrid and Auger Shell molluscs.
In some cones, the venom is powerful enough to be lethal to collectors who are not careful in handling the mollusc. Interestingly, specific components of the toxin complex are currently finding important medical uses (NIH, 2002).
Class: Gastropoda
Clade: Neogastropoda
Superfamily: Conoidea
Family: Conidae
Major Genera
  • Genus: Conus
  • Genus:Asprella
  • Genus: Chelyconus
  • Genus: Floraconus
  • Genus: Leptoconus
Conus sieboldi
Conus sieboldii (Reeve, 1848)
Siebold's Cone


Conus litteratus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Lettered Cone


Conus aulicus (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Princely Cone


The Textile Cone
on the prowl!



Cone Photo Gallery

Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Gastropods > Cone Shells